my grand funk concert stories mark farner brings Cincinnati closer to home
Mark Farner Common Ground Ministry Flyers 1986-87
Mark Farner concert pics Cincinnati Ohio Oct.1988Click thumbnail to view full-size
Mark Farners common ground
It was October 1988 when I would attend my sixth Grand Funk show at Bogarts arena in Cincinnati Ohio.Alot had changed in a few years.In 1986 Mark had started a ministry.He was now in the christian rock industry and would perform both Grand Funk stuff and his new christian rock stuff.I hadnt seen Mark since the Island park concert back in summer 85.In 1987 or 88 he had released a new album under his own name entitled-Just another injustice on Frontline Records.A few of these songs he played at this show.One in particular was called-isnt it amazing which I believe to be Marks most soulful song he has ever recorded.A very beautiful song.It had been a few years since attending Marks last concert and the following few years had become extremely difficult for me in many ways.Man talk about bein down on ones luck.I was still writing Mark from time to time and Mark began sending me his flyers from his common ground ministry which I still have to this day.I was far from being any kind of christian.Receiving those flyers from time to time from him was one of the main things that had kept me going.I wanted to believe things could be better than they were.I had lived through an unusual amount of personal hell that many people could have trouble even believing.It was that bad.I felt very honored to have met Mark and to know him.And he knew me.It was indeed one of the few things that I did have to be thankful for back in those days.And today I am still thankful.Most of my letters to him back then were always telling him about how bad things have been and were often quite depressing I hate to admit.Have you ever been there?Where something has gone so wrong and things had gotten so bad that you almost become in disbelief that this much turmoil was even possible?If you have,then perhaps you may understand.
I had missed one of Marks previous Ohio shows in 86 (or was it 87?),so I was really lookin forward to this concert in Cincinnati.I was far from being a christian.In fact my life was one big wild party at times and couldve been considered as anything but good and wholessome.Thats for sure.But I also knew that there had to be a better way,and back then I was still open to it even though my lifestyle certainly did not reflect it.In October of 88,we heard about Marks upcoming show.It was Mark Farner with a new band lineup of Arnie Vilchez on guitar,Mike Maple on drums and Lawrence Buckner on bass and they would perform grand funk hits as well as songs from his stuff from Just Another Injustice.This would be Marks band lineup for the next few years.This show would be quite a bit different from the previous ones Id seen and the group Rare Earth were the special guests.Friends Robert and Dave had stopped by.We sat around and discussed it awhile and all three of us decided to head it for Cincinnati.It was a long drive.Having entered Cincy on the wrong side of town just made our arriving on time that much more difficult.We finally did arrive there a few hours later.Rare Earth was just finishing up the last part of their set when we had arrived and there would be a fair interval of time before Mark and the band would be coming out.
First we went to Marks concession stand.There were large Mark posters for sale and I was trying to decide whether to get one or not.The guy working there was quite rude.I had just been talking casually with him and he had told me that he only had one poster left.Could you hold it for me?I asked.I needed to go get more money so I would have enough for the poster and any other things while at this concert.He remarks something like,No,no I cant and I dont really care if your name is Chris so and so.I then thought to myself,now heres a real and true smartellic idiot possessing the brain function of an ape.I did get the poster though.After visiting this stand and purchasing the poster we all three went down these steps to where the restroom was.What is that smell?As we entered we were surprized to see several people all hacking and coughing and so much smoke in the air that even cheech and chong wouldve had second thoughts about entering this place.A large swarm of us all gathered.Everyone began flicking lighters and some gasping for air as the entire restroom couldve been mistaken for being on fire.The show was just about to restart.By this time we were having trouble walking out of there,let alone being capable enough to visit Mark after the concert.Everybody was so freakin messed up.
As we made it out to the front of the stage,Mark and the guys had came out and the show had begun.This was a very cool looking place.Bogarts was a theatre like looking place with quite a large stage and alot of open area between the stage and the seating.We chose to all stand front of stage.The show being a blend of Grand Funk and Marks solo christian stuff such as songs Isnt it amazing, Airborne Ranger,Judgement Day Blues,and Come to Jesus are the solo ones that I can remember them playing.Of course,most of the song line up was Grand Funk material.This new christian rock thing they were doing was alright but most of the crowd are waiting to hear the hard and heavy industrialized rock of Grand Funk Railroad.The first half of the show I was feelin alright.However it was all soon to come to an abrupt end.At first my head was hurting slightly.Before long I was standing in front of that stage with a full blown migraine that was now taking me over with a ferocity not felt in a very long time.I also used to have a seizure condition back then.Both of my friends were enjoying the concert but at the same time had become concerned me as well.I really feared having a seizure right there.I stayed firm and did watch the rest of the concert and when it was all over,my pain started to diminish once we were outside in the fresher air.We soon noticed other people walking around back.We all then walked to the back of the building to find a rather large tour bus in the alley both parked and running,as well as perhaps a dozen people who were waiting in line at the buildings back entrance.We then got in line and were pretty close to the front.Soon there would be many more people as the line seemed to soon stretch a very long ways all the way down this long back alley road.Oh my God look at them all,exclaimed Robert.The cool evening air and darkness felt really good to me and my head pain was clearing up some.All that remained was a dull ache.Two girls behind us had asked if they could cut in front of us and when Robert said no way,one of them began a barrage of braggings and insults about how she was so special and that we little young boys whom lacked any true Grand Funksmanship should step aside to make room for miss queen bee of the funk.She was rather mean about it all.I personally cannot stand a braggert but at that moment I wasnt really in any condition to argue with her.We were finally next in line to enter but the wait would end up being excruciatingly long.
As the last people in front of us were ushered in Robert had noticed something.Hey Chris look at that!The back door was left open.Peeking inside we noticed there was a downstairs and an upstairs.Lets go in,he said.So we peeked in again and looked around and actually stepped inside while many outside were warning us not to do it.And for good reason too.As we all three walked about halfway up these stairs,the door up there flew up as we were angrily greeted by a long haired man whom was extremely large as well as extremely angry.We all three said,oh my freakin God.So this guy the size of a freakin gorilla comes runnin down the steps after us and yelling get the (blank) outta here now.We ran for our lives back out the door.He about scared us to death.He came outside and yelled at us some more as he very sternly warned us once again.It was really scary.Then a minute or two later while standing there monitoring the door,he walks up to me smiling.He then leans over and whispers to me.,Dont worry about it Chris,youre gonna get inside to see Mark soon enough.Are you alright?he asked.I knodded yes and we both kinda chuckled about the whole thing as I told him it was all my friend Roberts idea,but I think this guy already knew this.I didnt know this man,but it appeared that he knew me.Way back then I would never have dreamed that 17 years later this man and I would once again cross paths in a little club I was playing at near Cincinnati in 2004 and he would still know who I was.We soon were escorted inside the building.Once again we were waiting a long time or so it seemed.My head was now throbbing again as I went into a restroom and vomited for several minutes and once again was feeling seizurish.It was now our turn to go in.Both my friends helped me into this back room and there stood Mark looking at me.He walked up to me and first made a comment about how long my hair had grown since hed last seen me.He then says,How ya doin Chris?Not feeling too well Mark,I replied.I was stoned and sick and pain ridden and really feared that I might pass out right in front of him.Then something surprizing happened.Mark placed both his hands across the top of my head and began praying aloud for me.I did not expect this.There were people in there taking pictures and everything.He then signed my poster and our autographs and posed for a picture with us.I was still in alot of pain.He asked us to all be careful going home as we said goodbye to him.
Robert and Dave then helped me to the car.I laid in the backseat and passed out as we drove away.This migraine was a really bad one.An hour later I awoke and my migraine and all the pain were completely gone.I soon realized they had messed up.They had taken the wrong route home and it would take about three times longer to finally get where we were going because of this.My poster was put into a large frame.A subtle reminder of the night that Mark had prayed over me.A night I wouldnt soon forget.About two months later in December of 88 I would meet up with a new girlfriend who would attend my seventh Mark Farner Grand Funk show with me in June of 1989.This next concert would be out in the country.The place was called the carousel and was located out in the boonies just outside of Celina Ohio.It would be a two day event.It would also be my most treasured funk concert that would be filled with great memories.
memories-Grand Funk from the Lp-All of the girls in the world,Beware! 1975
Great Funk stuff here
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